BERKELEY, CA. -- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researcher Dr. Paul Williams has launched what he hopes will be the first epidemiological mega-survey on the Internet.
The National Health Survey can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.healthsurvey.org. The study was initiated in order to identify foods, dietary supplements, exercises, and medical practices (traditional and alternative) that could increase life expectancy and reduce chronic diseases.
Williams says the study is based on the premise that everyone is engaged in a personal experiment in which their choice of foods, vitamins, medical treatment, and lifestyle affects their health. The accumulation of all these individual experiments into one nationwide study could lead to improved guidelines and recommendations for diet, lifestyle, and medical treatments.
Said Williams, "The study could identify which drugs and medical treatments are most effective, as well as drugs that have heretofore unrecognized effects, both beneficial and detrimental. It will provide both a national health status report and possibly provide an early warning system for drugs or dietary supplements that have serious side effects."
Williams notes that vitamins and dietary supplements are widely consumed yet there is a scarcity of scientific information on how they affect health. "We have included many of these supplements in our survey and will continue to update the online list," said Williams. He cites the benefits of aspirin for reducing heart disease risk as one example of a drug having greater benefit than originally perceived.
Participants who enter their data through the Internet will receive an automatic
on-the-spot analysis of their diet, physical activity, and weight. They will be
re-contacted every three months for the opportunity to update this information
and to report on their
Contact: Dr. Paul Williams
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory